Pathos: a web facility that uses metabolic maps to display experimental changes in metabolites identified by mass spectrometry

David P Leader, Karl Burgess, Darren Creek, Michael P Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work describes a freely available web‐based facility which can be used to analyse raw or processed mass spectrometric data from metabolomics experiments and display the metabolites identified – and changes in their experimental abundance – in the context of the metabolic pathways in which they occur. The facility, Pathos (, employs Java servlets and is underpinned by a relational database populated from the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). Input files can contain either raw m/z values from experiments conducted in different modes, or KEGG or MetaCyc IDs assigned by the user on the basis of the m/z values and other criteria. The textual output lists the KEGG pathways on an XHTML page according to the number of metabolites or potential metabolites that they contain. Filtering by organism is also available. For metabolic pathways of interest, the user is able to retrieve a pathway map with identified metabolites highlighted. A particular feature of Pathos is its ability to process relative quantification data for metabolites identified under different experimental conditions, and to present this in an easily comprehensible manner. Results are colour‐coded according to the degree of experimental change, and bar charts of the results can be generated interactively from either the text listings or the pathway maps. The visual presentation of the output from Pathos is designed to allow the rapid identification of metabolic areas of potential interest, after which particular results may be examined in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3422-3426
Number of pages5
JournalRapid communications in mass spectrometry
Issue number22
Early online date17 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2011


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